As gardeners, we know what needs to be done when the weather gets cooler. Thus, it is that time of the year when we need to protect our plants from frost. Especially because frost can be deadly and because freezing temperatures cripple the crops we have been working really hard on. Of course, there is no rush to just go outside in the middle of the night to cover cold-sensitive plants. However, it always helps to plan ahead. Thus, let’s protect tender plants from cold and damage with 5 clever tips and tricks.
1. Coverings are quite smart for sensitive plants
Thus, the most popular and budget-friendly way to protect the plants from frost is covering them. For this, you would need an appropriate material. I would suggest a material with little to no cloud cover. This will act as a shield against freezing and it will help your plants to retain the much-needed heat they need to survive.
However, simply covering them isn’t enough, you will also need to make sure the plant covers doesn’t touch the foliage or the cold temperature transfers from there. Thus, take off the cover as the morning sun rises to prevent plants from suffocating. For example, the most common coverings are simple household items such as sheets, burlap sacks, and old blankets.
2. You should also know how to apply coverings effectively
Now, once you decided on the material, you need to know how to apply the covering effectively. Thus, the best time for this is before the sun goes down. That way, you will ensure that the warmth of the day gets trapped under the cover with your plant. You will also need to make sure you do not have openings in your covering to allow the warm air to escape. Finally, this covering should touch the plant’s drip line.
There are also some additional things you can do for small plants. For example, get a large cardboard box to cut out the bottom of it. Then, tape the box flaps shut and cut the three sides of the top until you form a hinged lid. Place the box over the plant. You got to keep it open to collect sunlight and warmth during the day, and close for protection against the frost at night.
If you also have bigger plants, don’t stress. Set some stakes in the ground taller in a perimeter of the target plant by several inches. Cover the big plants with the coverings around the stakes, then secure with bricks or rocks.
3. That’s right, watering can go a long way
Did you know you can protect your plants from the cold by watering them? Before frosting is showing up, you need to water your plants thoroughly just a few days before. Thus, wet the soil to help it collect more heat. Water also insulates the plant cells, the soil and prevent desiccation. Don’t water during frost. It result’s in frost heave and accelerates frost damage. The key is to water before the frost sets in to raise humidity and prevent further damage.
4. Mulching Your Plants
Also, another trick to protect your plants from frost is mulching. This will help the plants insulate from the cold. Not all plants can tolerate heavy mulching, though, and for those, you will only need the covering.
If you will go the mulching route, some of the popular materials include piled-up leaves, bark, pine needles, and straw. Mulch locks in humidity and heat during the cold weather; for optimal results make mulch about 2 to 3 inches deep.
5. Raised Beds
Raised gardens beds are effective against frost because of two things- one, cold air stays in sunken areas; and two, the raised soil makes it easier to cover your frost-sensitive plants.